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The Singular Pilgrim; Travels on Sacred Ground


Selected as a Notable Book of the Year by both The San Francisco Chronicle and The Christian Science Monitor, The Singular Pilgrim is a riveting account of one woman's personal quest to find the root of belief among modern religious pilgrims.  Rosemary Mahoney undertakes six extraordinary journeys: visiting an Anglican shrine to Saint Mary in Walsingham, England; walking the five-hundred-mile Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain; braving the icy bathwater at Lourdes; rowing alone across the Sea of Galilee to spend a night camped below the Golan Heights; viewing Varanasi, India's holiest city, from a rubber raft on the Ganges; soldiering barefoot thorugh the three-day penitential Catholic pilgrimage, known as Saint Patrick's Purgatory, on Ireland's Station Island.  A fiercely independent and observant traveler, Mahoney offers a provocative, witty chronicle of her adventures.


"A book about pilgrims and holy places that is not only engightening but also very funny," --

Paul Theroux




The New York Times: “Mahoney once again proves both resourceful and fearless…[She] worries that her sharp tongue and short temper make her an unfit pilgrim…but these are also the qualities that make this such a bracing and pleasurable book.”

The Washington Post (Charlotte Allen): “As an observer, Mahoney as an unblinking eye…a writer’s writer, she has a poet’s gift for striking images.”


Los Angeles Times Book Review(Christopher Reynolds): “The great twin pleasures here for readers are her sharp vision and prose that matches it. . .  She sketchesher fellow pilgrims and herself unsparingly, find grace in unadvertised quarters, find humor remarkably often.”


Los Angeles Times (Bernadette Murphy): “Her essays, filled with rich detail and lyric writing, speak to the human desire to believe in something.”


The Christian Science Monitor (Diana Digges): “For all the emotional intensity and spiritual probing of this book, it is also full of humor and high adventure. Mahoney’s sharp eye for the profane, the worldly, and the foolish intrudes at every turn, often to great comic effect.”

Speakeasy (Donna Seaman): “Here the reader becomes fully cognizant of the exceptional vitality of Mahoney’s prose, her extraordinarily keen eye and sharp ear, stupendous memory, and considerable gift for interweaving historical, intellectual, psychological, and spiritual insights.  With each chapter, the reader is newly amazed at Mahoney’s sure stride and stirring rhythm, her voracious watchfulness, unfailing candor, omnivorous attention to detail, love of storytelling and willingness to engage strangers in conversation and reveal her own conflicts and heartache."

The Providence Journal (Sam Coale): “…Mahoney’s sharp eye for details and her descriptions of the people she meets…are simply stunning.”


Organic Style: “Mahoney’s irrepressible honesty makes the journey as provocative for the reader as the pilgrimages were for her.”


Rocky Mountain News (David Shneer): “Mahoney’s writing is beautiful and deeply personal, and the narrative reads more like a personal travelogue of a singular pilgrim than a study of pilgrimage.”

Boston Herald (Rob Mitchell): “Self-aware without being self-conscious, Mahoney is an adept and engaging chronicler. She has a discriminating ear, attentively tuned to the idiosyncratic dialogue of her fellow pilgrims."

San Francisco Chronicle (Steve Heilig): “Mahoney is a fine writer…she is an engaging if skeptical observer.”

St. Petersburg Times (Nancy Paradis): “Mahoney…is a gifted storyteller….everywhere she travels, she turns her eye for detail into accounts that paint vivid pictures in the mind, the sense of actually being there.”

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